The Best 10 Inch Subwoofers

10" sub with other car audio components

Without question, bass can be the most impactful aspect of a car audio system. Low-end is the backbone of music and if a system is lacking in it then the whole system, no matter how well put-together, feels flat and underwhelming. This is why subwoofers are a commonly added or replaced element in the sound system. A subwoofer upgrade will get immediate results that can be heard and felt.

This article is focused on 10” subwoofers. While on the “smaller” side of subs, their size holds some benefits over their larger brothers. Because they are smaller, they move more quickly than larger speakers, translating to a tighter, punchier sound. On the flip side, they rarely have the depth of larger subs. Their small size is also more practical in most vehicles where space is valuable or restricted. Not only does a larger speaker take up more space, but the inside of the sub enclosure must have more volume in order for the speaker to perform properly.

There are hundreds of options for subwoofers out there, and choosing the right one can feel overwhelming as specifications and terms flood your head. We at Honestly Audio have put together a list of some of our favorite models and broken them down into categories based on what you may be looking for.

Best Value
Rockford Fosgate R2D4-10

The Best Value 10" Sub

Rockford Fosgate makes impressive speakers, and they make them for all price points. One advantage of this is that they can “borrow” ideas, designs, and technologies from higher end products and integrate them into their lower cost models. This is the case with the R2D4-10. It has a solid power rating of 250W RMS and 500W peak, and a fairly small mounting depth of 4.319”.

The cone is mica injected polypropylene with a poly-foam surround; materials that help with the cone’s overall strength and rigidity. Further adding to the strength is the stamped cast basket, while the spider has integrated venting to aid in voice coil cooling. The voice coil former is made of anodized aluminum creating an effective heat sink to help dissipate heat buildup from the voice coil.

Even though the R2D4-10 is the lowest-priced subwoofer on this list, it is far from cheaply made and is an outstanding value for the quality.

This Speaker is For:

Someone looking to add their first subwoofer for a low cost.

This Speaker is Not For:

Someone who has a higher budget.

Best Overall
Alpine Electronics R-W10D4

The Best 10" Sub

Alpine Electronics is constantly looking into how to improve their products and that is how the R-Series was born. Alpine took the best aspects of their highly successful Type-R subwoofers and improved upon it with the latest technologies and designs, creating the R-Series.

The R-W10D4 is the 10” model from this series, delivering powerful clean output and deep bass excursion at a mounting depth of 6.375”. The impressive 19mm of excursion (X-Max) is possible due to the combination of the kevlar-treated cone and santoprene surround with Alpine’s HAMR (high-amplitude-multi-roll) design.

The dust cap was created by adding a calculated amount of talc into the mica polypropylene to give it better vibration absorption. An alternative method of attaching the spider to the cone increased the overall rigidity and improved accuracy. Adding to the rigidity is the cast aluminum basket, making it not only incredibly strong but also lightweight.

The R-W10D4 can handle an impressive amount of power with a rating of 750w RMS and 2250w peak, giving plenty of headroom for the high dynamic needs of hard-hitting bass.

An all-around great subwoofer, the R-W10D4 will impress anyone who has a chance to hear it.

This Speaker is For:

Someone who has a modest budget and desires a high-quality/high-output sub.

This Speaker is Not For:

Someone needing a shallow subwoofer.

Best Under $100
Kicker 10C104

Our Pick for best 10 inch Sub under $100 is the Kicker 10C104

Kicker is a brand all about the bass and their subs are where they shine the most. The 10C104 doesn’t disappoint, delivering the strong hard-hitting bass kicker it’s known for.

The injection-molded cone with 360° back bracing is super rigid so it can handle the stresses a subwoofer is under. Further strength is gained by using Kicker’s signature yellow double-stitching on the surround.

A lot of heat builds up in a subwoofer as it is being driven, to compensate for this, high-temp voice coil wire is used and a vented pole piece helps with heat dissipation of the voice coil. The entire Comp series, which the 10C104 is a part of, is designed to be versatile so they can be paired with vented or sealed enclosures, even performing well in open air applications.

It is rated to handle 150w RMS and 300w peak, and has a slimmer-than-average mounting depth of 5.063”.

At a price that won’t break the bank, the 10C104 is an excellent choice for anyone looking to upgrade their system.

This Speaker is For:

Someone looking for the Kicker sound at a reasonable price.

This Speaker is Not For:

Those that often push their system to the max.

Best Under $200
Rockford Fosgate P3D2-10

The Best 10" sub around $200

The P3 series is among Rockford Fosgate’s best performing subwoofers, and it shows in the careful design and dedication to performance.

The P3D2-10 has an impedance of 2ohms but a 4ohm version (P3D4-10) is available, allowing end users to choose the right driver that will work best in their system. It has an impressive power rating of 500w RMS and 1000w peak allowing headroom to handle the demanding needs of dynamic music.

An anodized aluminum cone and dust cap are paired with a unique spider venting design that helps to cool down the subwoofer during operation. A newly designed hybrid stamp cast basket provides superior strength while minimizing weight and unwanted resonances.

The P3D2-10 uses Rockford’s “VAST” (Vertical Attach Surround Technique) design that increases the speakers radiating cone area, up to 25% more than similar model speakers, that boils down to the ability to push more air efficiency.

A convenient touch that anyone who installs the speaker will appreciate is the Flex Fit frame that uses slots instead of circular holes for the screws, allowing for some adjustment when mounting.

The P3D2-10 provides outstanding performance at a price under $200.

This Speaker is For:

Someone looking for a speaker above ‘entry-level’.

This Speaker is Not For:

Someone who can’t provide the 6.18” of mounting depth.

Best Shallow Mount
Pioneer TS-SW2502S4

The Best Shallow Mount 10" Speaker

Pioneer spent a lot of time and effort in engineering a super shallow subwoofer that can still provide the powerful bass that people expect from modern subwoofers, and they succeeded with the TS-SW2502S4. The compact design has an impressive mounting depth of only 3.125”, allowing for creative mounting options like under or behind seats. 

Despite its small size, this sub can still handle a good amount of power with a peak of 1200w and a 300w RMS rating. The oversized cone structure provides greater surface area without changing the outside diameter. Moving all that air is a cone made with mica injected-molded resin, which creates a highly rigid and durable cone.

To further help save space Pioneer makes specific shallow enclosures for the TS-SW2502S4, like a down firing enclosure (UD-SW25OD) or one designed for behind the seat (UD-SW25OT).

This Speaker is For:

Anyone short on space in their vehicle.

This Speaker is Not For:

Someone who has the space to spare for a large sub enclosure.

Best Sound
JL Audio 10W6v3-D4

The Best Sounding 10" Sub

If you are looking for tight, clean, accurate bass because you require the best sound, then JL Audio delivers all this in the 10W6v3-D4. It is in a higher price range, but many users find that one of these powerful subwoofers has the sound of two larger, lower quality subs.

In 1997, JL Audio wanted to improve their speaker designs by having a way to accurately measure what faults were preventing a speaker from performing its best, so they developed Dynamic Motor Analysis. Since then, every speaker undergoes this extensive testing, finding improvements until the final product is fully optimized.

JL Audio developed their patented Elevated Frame Cooling to increase air flow through the voice coil, causing the voice coil to dissipate air more efficiently than other designs. When too much heat builds up in a voice coil, it changes how the voice coil behaves and changes everything from the speaker’s efficiency to its sound quality. Improving air flow further is another patented design, Pole-Vent Airflow Control (PVAC) that helps to increase and direct airflow towards the voice coil.

JL Audio builds their speakers in their Florida factory to ensure every product matches their high-quality standards.

This Speaker is For:

Someone looking for bass that has fidelity as well as power.

This Speaker is Not For:

Those with space restrictions or the budget minded.

Honorable Mention
Rockford Fosgate P300-10

A complete 10" sub setup

If you are needing to add some bass into your system and wish to do so quickly and easily, then Rockford Fosgate’s P300-10 should be worth your consideration. This is an all-in-one option consisting of a 10” subwoofer, sealed enclosure, and a 300-watt amplifier. All that is needed for install is to run power and signal from the source to the enclosure, then you’ll be enjoying tight heavy-hitting bass. The built-in amplifier has a few controls to help fine tune the sound like a 0°/180° phase switch, adjustable bass boost EQ, adjustable 12db per octave low pass crossover, and a bass level control.

Also present on the amplifier is thermal/voltage protection and an intelligent auto on/off function so the sub turns on automatically when it receives audio. The enclosure is well built and scratch resistant and measures 13.3” high x 18” wide x 8.9” deep at the bottom and 5.9” deep at the top.

All this power and convenience is in the P300-10 while still maintaining Rockford Fosgate’s famous reputation.

This Speaker is For:

Someone looking for the quickest and easiest way to add bass.

This Speaker is Not For:

Someone who wants to put the time and effort into optimizing their system.

About The Author

Jack Nemo is a professional sound engineer based in Alberta, Canada. He’s managed to make a career out of his love for music while working with artists from around the world. When not behind a soundboard he can be found taking things apart to see how they work and attempting to put them back together again.